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Backpacker Magazine – August 2012

Trail Mix: Central

Your region's go-now guide.

by: Steve Johnson, Morgan Tilton and Rachel Zurer

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Deerfield Lake (Photo by: Nate Anderson)
Deerfield Lake (Photo by: Nate Anderson)

Explore: Des Moines Dayhikes
Escape into pine forest on a five-mile lollipop-loop along the Lake Shore Trail (Trip ID 5664). Scan the QR code to download GPS Trails, our free smartphone navigation app, and check out more central Iowa trails.

Perfect Days
Indianapolis, IN Dubois Ridge
Look for 20-inch-tall, brown-and-white ruffed grouse hiding in the brush on this rolling 9.4-mile loop. No luck? We guarantee you’ll see plenty of red and white pines, and likely whitetail deer. After the hike, head to Brown County’s quarter-mile zip-line (812-988-7750; Not scary enough? Drop it at night (six-person minimum). Trip ID 28003

Rapid City, SD Deerfield Lake
Hike through ponderosa forest to open prairie views on this 11.5-mile loop circling Deerfield Lake in South Dakota’s Black Hills National Forest. Then pick a spot near the Deerfield dam to cast a damsel fly for rainbow and brook trout (the state record brookie–12 pounds–was caught here). Trip ID 1658249

Wichita, KS Wilson Purple Loop
In the Smoky Hills of central Kansas, take this 4.7-mile loop to the edge of 9,000-acre Wilson Lake. You’ll wander through prairie and past 40-foot cliff bands to the Dakota Formation sandstone surrounding Wilson’s shoreline. Finish the trail and stop for a snack at Cain City Orchard (call ahead, 620-562-3498; where you can pick your own fruit (peaches in July; apples in August). Trip ID 370885

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